The City of Asheville was awarded the “Best Local Government Recycling Program” award by the Carolina Recycling Association during its annual conference and trade show in Charleston, SC in March. The award was presented to City Council during its June 14 Council meeting.
The CRA’s local government award recognizes one local government in North Carolina or South Carolina that has created a successful and comprehensive recycling program for its residents. The winner is a model for other governments and demonstrates leadership in programs, materials, methods, outreach to citizens and an ability to grow and adapt with the recycling industry.
The City of Asheville has a strong history of providing recycling options for its residents, with a residential curbside program in place since 1997 and recycling in city facilities since 2000. At 80 percent of its residents participating, the city has the highest participation record in the state. Since the residential curbside program was implemented, residents have recycled more than 90,000 tons of recyclable material. “These numbers are encouraging and tell us we are making progress toward achieving Council’s goal of being the Southeastern leader in sustainability efforts,” said Sanitation Manager Wendy Simmons. “Results like this keep the momentum going and support the effort to stay on the leading edge of waste diversion.”
Recycling has tremendous positive outcomes for the community, the environment and the economy. Using an EPA environmental benefits calculator, one can estimate that the 90,000 tons Asheville residents recycled, resulted in the prevention of 72,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (the equivalent of 54,000 cars off the road), saved 1.9 million BTU’s of energy (the equivalent of powering 18,000 homes for a year) and saved a 658,000 trees due to the use of recycled paper. Furthermore, many of these recycled materials were collected, processed and remanufactured at recycling businesses in NC, helping to support the 14,000 jobs in the recycling industry in the Old North State.
The city has established a municipal carbon reduction goal of 80% by 2050 and sees recycling and waste reduction as a key component to achieving that goal. Other projects currently underway include green purchasing guidelines and the installation of an interactive recycling station to encourage visitors to the Civic Center to recycle more on the go.
The Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) is a non-profit organization serving the public and private recycling industry in order to advance waste reduction and recycling in North and South Carolina. For more information on recycling, the CRA or to become a CRA member, click here.